Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Roman Holiday

The moment I finished my final exams and projects for the first term of classes, I was ecstatic. Turning in work to my professors meant that in a matter of hours I would be in Italy with my mom enjoying coffee, wine, and gelato.

After a thirteen hour train ride from Vienna to Rome and the most fabulous hug between mother and daughter, I was dragging my suitcase up and down the hilly cobblestone sidewalks of Rome. We made a stop at the hotel to drop off my luggage, and then it was off to our first tour of Italy! It was a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour so that we were able to get our bearings around the city. We finished the tour and hopped off of the bus at the Trevi Fountain. We admired its utter beauty, threw a couple of coins into the fountain, and made our way to lunch.

The Trevi Fountain
My mom and I at the Trevi Fountain
For every meal in Italy (usually lunch and dinner) we would order two glasses of the house red wine, a salad to split, an entree to split, and two cappuccinos. The first meal in Italy was delicious and it was that way the entire trip! Following our lunch, we walked and got gelato at the best place in Rome. Seriously. This gelato was a gift from God.

Gelateria Valentino, the best gelato in Rome!
We spent the rest of the day walking around the city enjoying the busy Roman streets, had pizza, wine, and tiramisu for dinner, walked up and down the Spanish Steps, and went to sleep.
The Spanish Steps
Vatican City was the theme of day two in Italy! We did a three-hour walking tour of the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica, and St. Peter's Square. During the tour, we met a lovely Australian woman who later joined us for lunch and the walk back to our hotel. My two favorite things that I saw while in Vatican City were the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's Pieta. The chapel ceiling was beautiful and epic and it felt surreal to see the Creation of Adam in person. The Pieta reminded me of Eurydice, the production I stage managed last spring. There was an emotional moment near the end of the play when Eurydice held her father in that position, and it always tugged at my heartstrings.

Michelangelo's Pieta
My mom, the Australian woman, and I proceeded to get pizza and wine after the tour, walk across the river back into Rome, and relax in Barberini Plaza with a cappuccino. We did more walking, ate gelato, rested, had dinner near the Pantheon, saw the Pantheon, and went to sleep.
The Pantheon
Day three was spent exploring the Jewish Quarter and Ancient Rome. We went on a tour of the Great Synagogue of Rome, visited Piazza Venezia and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, had lunch in the Jewish Quarter, and then did a walking tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. The day concluded with gelato and dinner. Yes, dessert before dinner because gelato is that good!

The Pope approves!
He's everywhere
Piazza Venezia / The Tomb of the Unknown Solider
The Colosseum
The Roman Forum
And with that, we packed our bags and headed to Florence!


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